The Days of Old
"Remember the days of old. Consider the years of many generations; Ask thy father and he will show thee. Thy elders and they will tell thee." (Deu 32:7)
Christian Religion started with Jesus around 23-30 A.D. in the days of the greatest empire the world has ever known, the Roman Empire. It embraced nearly all the known world at that time. Tiberius Caeser ruled at that time. Rome at that time had many pagan religons and worshiped many gods. Rome itself was thought to be a god. The word "emperor" donates god. It was a religion establised by the law and suported by the government. The Jews at that time were jealous for their religion but it had a form of godliness with no power.
Christianity was not a religion of this world, it had no earthly head, no temporal power. It sought no establishment, no state or government support. It did not seek to take over Rome or its government. "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God the powers that be are ordained of God." (Rom. 13:1) This ment Rome is of God.
According to the scriptures and to what the Apostles practiced at that time there were only two kinds of officers, Pastors (Bishop) and decons that were selected by the chuch to serve, not to rule over them. The churches in their in running were autonomous of one another with no central authority but Christ. They were seperate and endependant, like the endependant Baptist churches today. They had a congregational and demoratic style government of themselves. Your Bishop (pastor) cold not come to my church and tell my Bishop how to run his church.
As the Devil would have it, after Christ' crucifiction, Stephen was stoned, Matthew was slain in Ethiopia, Mark dragged through the streets until dead, Luke was hanged, Peter and Simon crucified, Andrew tied to a cross, James beheaded, Philip crucified and stoned, Barthomew flayed alive, Thomas pierced with lances, James, the less, thrown from the temple nd beat to death, Jude shot to death with arrows, Matthias stoned to death and Paul beheaded. Judaism and Paganism continued to persecute the church for two mor centuries.
"Then they that gladly received his word were baptized; and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand."( Act 2:41) "Praising God, and having favor with all the people. and the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. (Act 2:47)
At Antioch, Ephesus, Corinth, Jerusalem and elswhere the new testament church grew rapidly by the thousands. With this kind of growth some of these Bishops begain to siez authority for themselves and began to lord it over the churches by claiming authority over the small churches. They began to induce higharchy into the church like modern day Roman Catholics.
A series of errors begain to creep in such as Baptismal Regeneration, "infant batism" (A.D. 370), Sprinkling and Pouring baptism. By the year A. D. 313 Christianity has a new face. Constantine asended the throne of the Roman Empire. he was a man of vision, he had one that was so realistic it was said he saw in the skies a fiery red cross and on the cross written in fiery letters these words: "By this thou shalt conquer." He thought this meant that he should become a Christian an give up his pagan ways, amalgamate the authority of Rome with The Christian religion and the whole world would become Christian. "Give us your spiritual power and we will give you our temporal power."
This unholy union was to be consumated by a councel called in A.D.313. So the Christian Churches was to come together under Constantines rule. The call went out but not all came. This was the begining of a Hierarchy where Christ was dethroned and Constantine was enthroned as head of the Church. It is to be noted that Constantine was not a Christian at that time but agreed to become one by the error of Baptismal regeneration. Constantine united with the Chistians but decided to wait just preceeding his death to get baptised to be sure that all his sins were washed away.
As you would have it the Roman senate did not like this at all so they moved the seat of the empire to Byzantium an old rebuilt city. Then they renamed Constaninople for Constnatine resulting in two capital cities in the Roman Empire. Constantine began to pursecute those Christians that would not come under him. Before that the persecutions of Christians was done mainly by Judaism ot Paganism. Hierarchy florished under constantine and grew into what we know as the Roman Catholic Church.
The churces that would not come under the state formed church were denied the name Christian. They were called anything but Christian such as "Monotist," "Tertullianist," Novationist," Paterinens", and even Ana-Baptist because they rebaptised those that were baptised as infants.
The church changed from a democracy to a preacher-church government. From salvation by grace to Baptismal Salvation. From "believers baptism" to "infant baptism, The "Marriage of church and state. Infant baptism was established by law and made compulsory. The church moved into the "Dark ages" which began 426 A. D. The sword and the torch became the power of God unto salvation rather than the gospel.
I hear a lot of people speaking out against the so called Fundamentalist. "Oh they are one of them fundamentalist." Well every Christian should come out of the dark ages and be a Fundamentalist. Being a Fundalmentalist is just believeing in the fundamental doctrinesof the church.
- A spiritual Church, Christ its founder, its only head and law giver.
- Its ordanances, only two, Baptism and the Lord's Supper. The are typical and memorial, not saving.
- Its officers, only two, biships or pastors and deacons; they are servants of the church.
- Its Government, a pure Democracy, and that executive only, never legistlative.
- Its law and doctrine the Holy Bible.
- Its menbers. Believers only, who are saved by grace, not by works, through the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit.
- Baptism by immersion, the obedience and loyalty to all New Testament laws.
- The various churches-seperate and independent in their execution of laws and discipline and their resonsibilities to God-but coopertive in work.
- Complete seperation of church and State.
- Absolute Religious Liberty for all.